Children see the world differently than adults. And at times, with much more clarity.
Nine-year-old Fraser Hartnell is a perfect example. He’s been a fan of the Spartans, Michigan State University’s football team, since he was a baby. But when it comes to wins and losses, his attitude has always maintained positivity.
Fraser always stays positive, even when his favorite team gets defeated. That’s why his father, Ben, looks up to him and says the sports world needs “more fans like Fraser.”
On November 16, Michigan lost to Illinois. Fraser watched as the crowd booed and turned their backs on the team they’d just cheered for. Once home, he disappeared into his room. But he wasn’t upset, Ben learned. He was busy writing an open letter addressed to Coach Mark Dantonio, quarterback Brian Lewerke, MSU football, and Spartan fans.
Fraser spent the next four days pouring out his feelings onto paper. And when Ben read the finished letter, he couldn’t be more proud of his son. He shared snapshots of his boy’s wisdom on Facebook, writing, “I find great comfort in my own child’s words about priorities in life.”
Read Fraser’s inspiring perspective on losing in his own words below.
I have been a Spartan fan all of my nine years. My Grandpa and Dad went to MSU, and I hope I can go there. I need to write you a letter because my Dad writes letters to people who are sad or who need a smile. I think there are a lot of MSU people who are sad right now. They need smiles. I am not sad. I am happy because I love you guys no matter what.
Dear Coach Dantonio:
My Dad and I say ‘Chase it’ every day and not ‘Good bye’ when he takes me to school. This is from the Rose Bowl. It means to try hard every time. You are an awesome coach. When my Grandpa was alive he said the same thing. He said you, Duffy, and George did a lot. I did not know George or Duffy, but their names are in my MSU Sports Almanac. You have more wins than they do but my Dad says there is more to sports than wins.
When my Grandpa died, you sent a letter to my Grandma and a letter to my Dad. You do not know my Grandma or my Dad, but you knew they were sad and wanted them to smile. I have not seen my Dad cry many times, but he cried when he got your letter. That was very nice of you. The Big Ten should give you 100 extra wins for doing that. I hope my letter makes you smile.
Dear Mr. Lewerke (#14):
You are my favorite football player … I like how you never give up. You broke your leg and hurt your shoulder but you came back.
I know it hurts to throw interceptions, but I have done it too. We all throw interceptions. I did not give up because you can’t be a good QB if you quit when you do that. It’s like basketball … You keep trying until you make it. I know you will throw more TDs because you will keep trying.
Dear MSU football:
Every Saturday my Dad and I watch your games. My Grandpa used to bring KFC over and watch with us. Some people say MSU is not playing good but they are wrong. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. If you have fun, it is not losing because you get to play your favorite sport. Remember I cheer for you all the time so do not be sad.
Dear Spartan fans:
We did not win but I had a lot of fun with my Dad … We did not win but you can still have fun when you lose because you love your team no matter what.
I like wins but it is not all in life. There are a lot of things sadder than losing a game. Some people don’t have homes and live on the street in the cold. Some people are very sick with disease. Some people are in the Army or Navy and can die so we get to watch a game. So if your team loses a game, be sad for a few minutes but then remember you are alive. Games are supposed to be FUN but they are just games.
I love you Michigan State. Do your best and have fun. “Go Green!”
Your friend, Fraser Hartnell
What a beautiful, compassionate soul. We’d all do well to look at the world through Fraser’s eyes.
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